Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Immune to "the Hub" Kool-aid

We have all heard the pronouncement of the business community on why it would be difficult for Korea to be a hub, business regulation. Yet we hear very rarely hear individual examples of what these regulations can be like. If any of you are interested in reading some of these examples, the JoongAng daily has an interview with CEO of Incheon Airport, who used be head of Unilever Korea. His best shot:

There is no creativity in this [airport management] organization. Since officials at state-run companies are, by nature, similar to public servants at government agencies, their way of thinking is only confined to regulations and rules.  

Funniest dumb rule story

There is a small subway line under construction called IAT [Intra Airport Transit] that will connect the Incheon airport terminal and the new departure terminal. I thought the name of IAT may not mean anything to most Koreans who use it and they won't know what IAT really means, so I suggested renaming it. I was recently given a three-page report on the name change, which was full of what regulations and rules are involved in the renaming process, how to form advisory committees for that and how long the project will take. But it basically can be summed up as "we don't want to do this." 

The thing about all this is the Incheon airport is treated as the lynchpin for most of "the Hub" plans (the hub of "the Hub" if you will), yet this is what the CEO is saying about government regulation, not for a foreign company but for a another Korean government-owned firm. Mr. Lee (the CEO) sounds like a good guy, I hope he gets out of this mess unscathed and more importantly NEVER DRINKS "THE HUB" KOOL-AID!


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